All-Or-Nothing Thinking

Yesterday was one of those days where I found myself falling back into familiar all-or-nothing thought patterns, which often happens when I’m sleep deprived and eating like an asshole, which I have been lately. I figured I’d share my process for working out of the muck. 

First, I make a list of all the all-or-nothing thinking. Here’re a few recent gems:

  1. Today absolutely sucked
  2. The meal I cooked was terrible
  3. I’m too old
  4. Nobody loves me
  5. My career’s a failure
  6. I sounded like shit at our last show

When it comes to crippling self-doubt, why mess with the classics, right? After a few rounds of creative profanity, I counter with thoughts that are more in tune with reality:

  1. A couple of annoying things happened, but not everything’s been a disaster
  2. True, it’s not the best meal I’ve ever prepared, but it’s edible
  3. Too old for what? Enjoying friends? No. Making music? No. Travel? No. Loving and being loved? Absolutely not. So, what am I too old for, exactly?
  4. Bullshit. I have lots of friends and family who care about me. I don’t reach out as much as I could, but I can work on that.  
  5. I’ve succeeded at some things and fallen short at others, just like everybody. But I’m gifted to be able to produce, work and create, so why not enjoy it?
  6. It wasn’t the best show I've ever played. In fact, it was way below average. But the fans had a great time, and I know how to focus my practice moving forward.  

For me, this process isn't about feeling instantly better, but rather allowing a few rays of sunlight to poke through the clouds, which can be all I need. 

And I feel it’s important sharing. We’re in this together, after all.